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Review: Superman and the Authority #1

Superman and the Authority #1

Imagine a world where the Justice League failed in their mission to bring about modern Camelot on Earth, either the King Arthur one or the John F. Kennedy New Frontier one. Both fell any way. Writer Grant Morrison, artist Mikel Janin, and colorist Jordie Bellaire explore this avenue plus an ailing Superman in the first issue of their new miniseries Superman and the Authority. This comic is the perfect distillation of Otto Binder and that other British comic book writer with a beard who was a sex pest. Opening with an earnest chat between Superman and JFK and concluding with a gin-swilling British anti-hero vomiting on (a representation of) the world, Superman and the Authority brings together Silver Age and the Dark Age, but the decent Vertigo/Wildstorm stuff, not Lobdell and Nicieza on the X-Books.

Grant Morrison hits this sweet spot by focusing Superman and the Authority #1 by focusing on two characters, Superman and Manchester Black setting up the thesis for the series before the inevitable recruiting drive in next month issue’s. They bring in plenty of bells of whistles with their script, including edgy dialogue and vomit noises for Black and Silver Age deep cuts for Superman. (Kryptonian Thought-Beasts are so cool, which might be the only thing that Geoff Johns and I ever agree on.) However, what truly brings these two disparate worlds and characters together is the visuals of Janin and Bellaire. Mikel Janin’s clean line style with slight Ben-Day dot expertly conveys the nostalgia of the 1960s (Which happens to be the decade Morrison grew up in.), and his film strip layout of astronauts and Superman leaping on the moon along with JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy waving to passerbys captures an era of youth and optimism.

But this all broken up by distorted line-work from Janin and reds and blacks from Bellaire than come in any time characters are stressed and in trouble throughout Superman and the Authority from Manchester Black taking gunfire in a flurry of grid panels to Superman basically taking a life and death gambit with Phantom Zone prisoners to persuade Black to join his team. For this extended sequence, Janin works from odd angles and emphasizes the agony of a slowly depowering Superman, who can’t fly any more aka the opposite of the smiling Silver Age hero, who could breathe in space and turn a lump of coal into diamond with his bare hands. Again, there are lots of reds and repetition of the word “Die” like it’s a Misfits song or something until Manchester Black reluctantly decides to be a hero, and Jordie Bellaire pours on a bit of telekinetic blue because telepathy doesn’t work on drones. In the spirit of Hitman #34, Superman’s true power isn’t heat vision, X-Ray vision, or flight, but the ability to provide hope and inspire even the most gin-sodden anti-hero.

Speaking of hope, some fans and critics were definitely a little bit taken aback by Superman leading The Authority, a team that in past incarnations had no problem killing and doing other various terrible things in the spirit of proactive superheroing. However, Grant Morrison does a good job of making a case for a collaboration between Superman and them without shying away from action, a bit of mystery (Aka shadowy figures talking about kryptonite), and some big ideas. Even though Superman and the Authority opens with JFK and Superman smiling and laying the foundation for both the Justice League and the moon landing, the rest of the book focuses on the Man of Steel’s vulnerability. For example, instead of flying to Manchester Black’s rescue from helicopter sniper gunfire tearing across the pages, he leaps over a building in a single bound (A la New 52/Golden Age Superman), and Mikel Janin abandons his usual clean style for hazy, black lines. Morrison’s dialogue also alludes to this weakness like lines about Superman hovering over the ground for short periods as a kind of “exercise”.

It’s a far cry from a smiling figure flying into the sun, and it’s why Superman has recruited anti-heroes like Manchester to replace his lost powers and strike from the shadows and the margins because trying to change the world from out in the open leads to the assassination of JFK or MLK or RFK, who are all alluded to in Superman and the Authority #1 along with traditional Superman comic book opponents Intergang, Darkseid, and Doomsday. These baddies’ names evoke corruption, pure evil, and the ultimate defeat as Doomsday was solely created to kill Superman. (And boost sales!) They could definitely kick the current Superman’s ass as evidenced by his struggles with some drones from the Phantom Zone, which is where the new incarnation of the Authority comes in. Superman shows Black a literal Round Table when making his sales pitch, but Manchester Black’s vomiting and the overt mention of anti-heroes in Grant Morrison’s dialogue show that this team is going to be the polar opposite of their JLA.

Superman and the Authority #1 finds a balance of hope and cynicism through the characters of real time aged Superman and Manchester Black. Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, and Jordie Bellaire give Black a true arc in this issue as evidenced by inset panels showing him walk away from the Fortress of Solitude and eventually slowly turning back to help him. Although Morrison makes cracks at traditional superheroes like the X-Men and JLA, their writing comes across as healthy skepticism more so than grimdark for the sake of grimdark. This is what Superman and the Authority the natural next step in their take on superhero team books as it captures the spirit of an age where racism, inequality, and senseless suffering continue with an added bonus of a climate crisis despite the social reforms of the 1960s.

To sum it all up, Superman and the Authority #1 is about the failure of the supposed Age of Aquarius as Morrison, Janin, and Bellaire turn from smiling, well-hewn Superman to a half-naked Manchester Black surrounded by detritus and targeted by the mooks of American imperialism. But there’s always hope even the more commercially successful superhero team failed in their mission to make the world a better place.

Story: Grant Morrison Art: Mikel Janin
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Steve Wands
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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DC Reveals a First Look of The Flash #772

The Speed Force has propelled Wally West across the Multiverse, from its past to its future. Along the way, he’s experienced the whole of existence, from running with dinosaurs to escaping the Legion of Doom, to the tragedies he’s faced at Sanctuary, and even seeing his children take up the mantle of The Flash.

But after all of that, The Flash is finally home in Central City, back with his loving wife Linda, his kids Jai and Iris, and…
Looking for a job????

Hey, even speedsters gotta eat, and bill don’t pay themselves, not even in the DC Universe! But can The Flash find gainful employment in Central City with a strange cosmic artifact heading to Earth and Heat Wave going on a fiery rampage?

DC has released a first look at The Flash #772, the first chapter in “Job Hunt”. Written by Jeremy Adams, with art by Will Conrad, colors by Alex Sinclair, and lettering by Steve Wands is out on July 20, 2021. It features a main cover by Brandon Peterson and Michael Atiyeh, and a card stock variant cover by Brett Booth, Jonathan Glapion, and Alex Sinclair.

Review: Snow Angels Season Two #1

Snow Angels Season Two #1

Snow Angels Season Two #1 kicks off the second season of Snow Angels begins here. It starts the final six issues of the series. Milli and Mae have now left the trench for an unknown frozen world. They have no idea what may be ahead of them and must deal with blistering cold and snow on their journey into the unknown.

Written by Jeff Lemire, the issue seems to embrace the white void and unknown. Without missing a beat, the girls have entered a new world for them. They have no idea what’s ahead for them and what hides in the snow that surrounds them. It’s a fight for survival that reminds us over and over what odds the girls are up against. The issue also brilliantly teases that the world is so much more than what we’ve seen so far.

Lemire doesn’t forget the threats he’s already set up. The issue circles back on the mysterious Snowman. Its world is opened up delivering shocking hints at the being’s origin. It also shows that the Trench we’ve seen is a sliver of something so much more. It’s a tease as to where the second part of this series is going and the revelations to come.

The art continues to be amazing. Jock handles the art with Steve Wands lettering. The duo use every part of the page to emphasize the vast whiteness that envelops the girls on their journey. With the use of blues, grays, black, and white, Jock delivers a snowy world that feels deadly and sad in so many ways. Wands’ lettering is solid as he moves from dialogue to narration and the lettering too feels like it emphasizes the coldness of it all.

Snow Angels Season Two #1 is an issue full of surprises. It plays with its concepts of expanding the world by limiting what the girls, and we, can see. But, it also greatly builds things out with the revelations about the Snowman and what the girls discover in their journey. It’s an issue that sets the series on its next adventure and shows us there’s a massive world beyond the Trench.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Jock Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: TKO Shorts: Killiamsburg

Reuben and Lyra are on the brink of a failing marriage when they’re invited to a risqué soiree hosted by wealthy neighbors in their glitzy new suburb. Yeah, it’s not what you think.

Story: Eric Freitas
Art: Jelena Dordević
Letterer: Steve Wands

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

comiXology
TKO Studios


TKO Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: The Other History of the DC Universe #4

The Other History of the DC Universe #4 is an interesting shift in the series. While previous issues have examined the DC Universe, this issue takes us in and out of the comic world to the real world discussing real events and issues through a comic lens.

Discover the 1990s and 2000s through the eyes of Renee Montoya.

Story: John Ridley
Layouts: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Finishes: Andrea Cucchi
Color: José Villarrubia
Letterer: Steve Wands

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics
TFAW


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Snow Angels #4

Snow Angels #4

Snow Angels #4 wraps up the first volume of the series and it ends with an emotional punch. Mae Mae and Millie struggle to survive a to-the-death battle with The Snowman! It’s a punch of a comic that brings tension and heartbreak and sets up what’s more to come.

Up until the end of last issue, we believed the world was a snowy tunnel that went on forever. There were rules that weren’t to be broken but clearly were. With this issue, so much of that comes shattering down as one chapter closes and a whole new adventure begins.

It’s interesting to read what writer Jeff Lemire has set up in the first four issues. Taken together, they feel like a prologue in so many ways. They’re the initial introduction to the world and characters before the real adventure begins. And Snow Angels #4 does that kick-off in an excellent way.

Lemire delivers a mix of action, suspense, reveals, and emotion in the issue that feels like a perfect final chapter for this volume of the series. The issue is touching and leaves readers in a way both fearful and excited for what’s to come and what we have yet to discover and explore.

Jock continues to impress with the art. Along with lettering by Steve Wands, the art delivers the punch to Lemire’s story. Snow Angels #4 continues the bleak frozen world full of whites, blues, and grays but its action is punctuated by reds. Blood flows on the backdrop of the frozen world delivering a focus on the brutality of what’s happening.

Snow Angels #4 continues the slow build of the series but by the end, the issue feels like the real beginning. Everything up to this point is prologue and now, much like Mae Mae and Millie, we’re left to a story of discovery attempting to leave behind the terror stalking the previous pages.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Jock Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Snow Angels #3

Snow Angels #3

Snow Angels has been an amazing series. It has delivered tension, mystery, and a world that feels both hopeful and bleak. Set in a snow-covered trench, the story follows a father and his two daughters as they attempt to survive a massacre in their town by the mysterious Snowman. Snow Angels #3 delivers a confrontation with the Snowman as we discover more about the puzzling trench.

Jeff Lemire‘s plotting and writing has been fantastic. Like the snow-covered world itself, there’s a minimal aspect to his dialogue and what’s told to readers. We’re teased just enough to continue the story, never any more than what’s needed.

Snow Angels #3 particularly stands out as it features multiple striking moments, each toying with a different emotion. There’s a confrontation with the Snowman, something completely unexpected, and a reveal about the world and the trench. Tension, wonder, and confusion are presented at different moments taking the reader on a reading journey.

Lemire also delivers heart too. We get some very touching moments concerning this family as we learn why they’re three and we get more of their history. It’s information that adds depth to the characters and and much more child-like qualities to Mae and Milli. At its heart, the story is about a family trying to survive in a harsh world.

Jock‘s art continues to be amazing. Along with lettering of Steve Wands, the art is the usual breathtaking and brilliant. Since it’s set in a frozen world, there’s a limited amount you can do as far as color and background but the art nails it all. The use of whites and blues create a harsh environment. Details flesh out the situation and breathes more life than what you’d expect in a world of white sheets of snow. In particular, what happens to the Snowman is cold but beautiful at the same time.

Snow Angels #3 builds upon the story in so many ways. We learn more about our main characters. We learn more about the frozen world. There’s a focus on adding details while also delivering excitement and wonderment. It’s a fantastic continuation of a series that has me excited to see what’s happening next and where it all goes.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Jock Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

comiXology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: The Other History of the DC Universe #3

The Other History of the DC Universe #3 is an interesting shift from the first two issues. This is more of a focus on the myth superheroes build about themselves with Katana as the focus. It’s a graphic essay and a graduate course in DC history.

Story: John Ridley
Layouts: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Finishes: Andrea Cucchi
Color: José Villarrubia
Letterer: Steve Wands

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics
TFAW

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Scout Comics Imprint Black Caravan announces new horror comic Swamp Dogs

Black Caravan, the sci-fi/horror imprint for Scout Comics, has signed a deal to publish Swamp Dogs. To help promote Swamp Dogs, Black Caravan is embarking on a mystery campaign leading up to the release of an ashcan comic July 2021. Black Caravan will be distributing bookmarks featuring teasers leading up to July. Bookmarks will be included in all subscription boxes for Scout Comics and Black Caravan, as well as being distributed to comic shops around the U.S. The cover of issue 1, as well as a plot synopsis, will be revealed in July.

Swamp Dogs will begin with a 5-issue miniseries. Following the miniseries, Swamp Dogs will tentatively continue in phases that will include multiple ongoing series, future minis, and standalone issues.

The creative team behind Swamp Dogs has been announced as well. Kewber Baal is illustrating the book. Coloring the book is comic veteran Ruth Redmond. Letterer Steve Wands is a comic industry veteran with over 1400 credits to his name. Covers are being illustrated by Robert Sammelin. J.M. Brandt and Theo Prasidis will be co-writing the comic.

Swamp Dogs

Review: The Flash #768

The Flash #768

The Flash kicks off its Infinite Frontier run with Wally West taking center stage. It also stumbles right out of the block with a forgettable issue that feels like a filler arc. The Flash #768 has Wally West making the decision that he wants to hang up his suit to spend more time with his newly reunited family. And, to do that, he feels like he needs the Speed Force taken from him.

Writer Jeremy Adams delivers a story that’s just ok. There’s nothing bad about the comic but it also doesn’t deliver anything that really stands out. It takes what should be some solid concepts and distracts things with a time travel sci-fi comedy. While Wally and Barry race so Barry can suck the Speed Force from Wally, the Speed Force acts up. Wally is sent to the past for unknown reasons that are teased as the issue progresses. There’s a lighthearted take to it all and some comedic moments. But, the issue’s strength is the exploration of how Barry and Wally have approached their roles. That is far too short.

But, this is jus the opening chapter in this arc and it all might come together. Beyond Barry and Wally’s different approach to life there’s an interesting exploration of Barry and Wally’s attachment to the Speed Force. Barry has a better understanding but Wally has a greater attachment to it. Again, there’s potential.

The art races around with Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci, and David Lafuente mixing things up as the story hops around time. Mike Atiyeh, Arif Prianto, and Luis Guerrero handle the colors. Steve Wands provides the lettering. The art is good but it lacks a certain sense of motion that has been a highlight of the art of the series for some time. While Wally and Barry race, there’s a lack of flow that makes the art feel more like a snapshot in time as opposed to enhancing the movement of the characters.

There’s some small details to enjoy in The Flash #768. A scene of Wally and Barry and Iris walking down the street has some great comments from those watching. There’s also a lighthearted and “fun” tone about the comic as well. It’s a throwback in some ways. Overall though, this is a starting arc that doesn’t excite enough to have readers coming back for more.

Story: Jeremy Adams Art: Brandon Peterson, Marco Santucci, David Lafuente
Color: Mike Atiyeh, Arif Prianto, Luis Guerrero Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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